Mark Uptain — a hunting guide from Wyoming — was mauled and killed by two grizzly bears who attacked him and client Corey Chubon on Friday, reported Fox News.
The pair was hunting elk in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, with Uptain being reported as missing when he did not return from the park when expected. That led to a search of the area the two were hunting in, with Grand Teton rangers finding Uptain’s body on Saturday afternoon.
Chubon survived the attack and was taken to a hospital with leg, chest, and arm injuries. He was treated, then released, although he may require further surgery to his Achilles tendons.
“I’m just blessed and extremely grateful to have made it out of this situation alive,” said Chubon to Orlando’s WKMG.
Since Uptain’s death, a GoFundMe has been launched to help raise funds for his family. He is survived by a wife and five children.
The death of Uptain comes after a federal judge put a pause on a grizzly hunt in the area, originally planned for earlier in the season. The judge’s ruling has held the hunt until at least October 1, which has led to the grizzly hunters in the area feeling frustrated.
“I can only imagine how horrific this was,” said local hunter Sy Gilliland. “You’ve got a bear population that’s basically un-hunted, is an apex predator, and has no fear of humans.”
A family friend was mauled by a grizzly bear and killed last night. They just recovered his body. Please pray for Mark's family. He leaves behind a wife and 5 kids and was an elder of his church in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.— Nick Johnson (@pastornick) September 15, 2018
Since Uptain’s death, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department continued searching the area, looking to find the two bears responsible. CBS News reported that the two bears suspected of being responsible for the mauling were found and killed by park officials, a spokeswoman for the department confirmed on Monday.
“All available evidence indicates that these two bears were the bears involved in the Terrace Mountain attack.”
The bears were reportedly a sow and her adult cub which local guides, who weren’t present at the scene of the mauling, suspect were not behaving normally.
Uptain and Chubon were mauled while the men were retrieving an elk they had shot the day before, with the bears attacking as the men were distracted. The bears reportedly did not try to eat the elk in question.
With little warning, the bears attacked. Chubon was thrown from his horse by one of the bears who then knocked the pistol he was aiming at it from his hands. With Chubon on the ground, the two bears turned and grabbed Uptain, dragging him into the woods — which allowed Chubon to escape in order to find a high vantage point to acquire cellular phone service.
Though Chubon managed to call emergency response, it was too late for Uptain, who Chubon and his father — who was also on the expedition, waiting by the vehicle — describe as “one of the nicest people they had ever met.”